Being the big Harry Potter fan that I am, I love reading about all the incredibly powerful forms of magic used throughout the series. There’s so many amazing spells that go on throughout the books including transfiguration, flying, potion making, Harry’s favorite “Expecto Patronum”, and even the three “Unforgivable Curses.” However, there is one type of magic in the Harry Potter series that is unquestionably the strongest and most powerful. It is the magic that protects Harry from the evil Lord Voldemort throughout his life.
This mysterious, powerful magic that Lord Voldemort will never understand is love, but not just any love…this incredibly powerful magic is sacrificial love. Going all the way back to the night Voldemort tried to kill Harry; we find that before Voldemort could get to Harry he had to kill both James and Lily Potter, Harry’s parents. However, if we look at Lily’s death specifically, we find that Lily didn’t just accept the inevitable death coming her way, but really honestly truly desired to die so that her son Harry could live. Her love was sacrificial; it was so profound and true that she wished to die so that her son may have life. What happens next? Voldemort is unable to kill the tiny infant Harry with the most powerful killing curse known to the wizarding world. Then, when Harry and Voldemort are reunited eleven years later, through Voldemort’s parasitic relationship with Professor Quirrell, Quirrell/Voldemort can’t even bear to touch Harry’s skin. The sacrificial love that Lily Potter had for her son was infinitely stronger than any dark magic that Lord Voldemort could conjure.
This is a principle that needs no analogy or metaphor to enlighten our faith life. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us very clearly “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus Christ is the living example of this verse. He loved us enough to sacrifice his own life so that we may no longer endure spiritual death, but live eternally with God. Like Lily Potter’s love for her son, Jesus’ incredible love for us is a love that will always triumph over the powers of sin and death. If we stay close to Christ and really allow his love to work in our lives, we need not worry about the powers of Satan; we simply need to trust in the eternal love and mercy of God.
Harry is clearly a recipient of his mother’s love, as we are recipients of God’s love, but Harry doesn’t just accept his mother’s love and stop there. Harry takes the example that his mother gave him and continually sacrifices himself for the good of those around him. In just about every book/movie Harry seems to be risking his life for the sake of his friends, as well as the wizarding world as a whole. In the same way, we are called to not only receive God’s gift of perfect love through the cross and resurrection, but to share that love with everyone we meet. We are called to be signs and bearers of Christ’s love. We are called to sacrifice ourselves, just as Christ did, for our friends, families, and neighbors.
“Lord Jesus through your cross and resurrection you have shown us that true love is sacrificial love. Thank you for being such a perfect example of love in our world. Help me to love those around me with that same inclination towards self sacrifice that you had. I know that this will be an incredibly difficult task, but I also believe that with your grace anything is possible. Allow the love I spread to those around me help them, as well as myself, to grow closer to you.”